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2018 MASTERS REVIEW

Patrick Reed and caddie Kessler Karain cross the Sarazen Bridge on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2018 Masters

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“Captain America” is now the Masters champion. Patrick Reed picked up the nickname with his stellar performance at the last Ryder Cup. At the 2018 Masters, the 27-year-old Texan held a 54-hole lead with three shots going into Sunday. Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler all tried to come after him. But Reed never flinched and finished with a one-shot victory at Augusta National, writes Louie Chan.

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A lot was made on the Sunday’s round about the Reed-McIlroy matchup and their last Ryder Cup showdown

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Patrick Reed is presented with the green jacket by Sergio Garcia during the green jacket ceremony after winning the 2018 Masters

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P

atrick Reed’s victory marked his first-ever Major win and made him the ninth firsttime major winner in the last 10 Majors. His victory burnt down all the narratives that had been established coming into the weekend: Tiger back in the Masters field for the first time in three years, Rory McIlroy going for a career Grand Slam, Spieth trying to get over the 12th-hole-shaped monkey on his back, and Justin Thomas looking to solidify the run he started last summer with his own green jacket. Instead, Reed just showed up at Augusta on Thursday, shot a 69. Then followed up with a 66 on Friday and a 67 on Saturday to give him the 54-hole lead and put him three shots ahead going into Sunday’s round. And he wasn’t done there. Spieth played majestically on Sunday, tying the final-round course record at the Masters with a 64. He went 5-under through the first nine holes, which led to some TV broadcasters begin signaling the 62-watch alarms. And then Spieth followed that up with some truly special holes on the back nine: a birdie on 12 followed by an astonishing birdie putt at 16. His tee shot on the 18th clipped the last branch in his way, dropping his ball some 267 HKGOLFER.COM


The golden young generation of American golfers - Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth

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Tiger Woods on hole 1 during the final round

Top: AFP/Getty Images; left: ©Augusta National 2018

yards from the green. His 8-foot par putt for a record-breaking 63 narrowly missed on the right. Spieth put up the most unlikely fight and was on the verge of the greatest comeback in the Masters history. He started nine shots behind going into the final round and was inches away on two shots from a chance at another green jacket. But Reed just held on all day long, When the roars for Spieth sounded around Augusta, Reed was listening. As Spieth crept up the leaderboard, drawing nearer and nearer to where Reed sat for much of the day at 14-under, Reed held steady. He found a way out of every jam - each of Reed’s three bogeys on the day was followed up by a birdie within the next two holes - and every errant shot he hit was quickly remedied. He finished the day with a 71, his only round of the weekend not in the 60s, but it was exactly enough. A lot was made before (and during) Sunday’s round about the Reed-McIlroy matchup and their last Ryder Cup showdown. But Augusta National proved to be a much tougher opponent than anyone Reed could have faced head-to-head on Sunday. He started the day with a three-shot lead, but bogeyed the opening hole, seemingly giving his opponents a chance. He’d go on to finish the front nine

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©Augusta National 2018

Jordan Spieth birdies hole 16 during the final round

Rickie Fowler acknowledges patrons of Augusta National during the final round 34

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at even par, but with the surging Spieth and a quietly resilient Fowler in front of him. McIlroy, meanwhile, will have to wait another year for a shot at the career Grand Slam. Trailing by three shots to start the final round, he closed to within one shot after two holes. That was as close as he came. McIlroy’s putter betrayed him, and he was never a factor on the back nine. He closed with a 74 and tied for fifth. When Reed bogeyed hole 11, it looked like a prime opportunity for Spieth to make his move. But sure enough, right after the window opened, Reed slammed it shut again with birdies on hole 12 and 14. Each time Reed’s competitors thought they’d found a way in, he locked it down. Reed walked up to the 18th green while echoes of cheers for Fowler - who’d birdied to get within one of Reed - still seemed to ring. Fowler holed an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 67. He had to settle for his third runner-up finish in a Major. He left the scoring cabin when Reed two-putted for par down the slippery slope on the 18th green and waited for a chance to greet Reed. ‘‘Glad I at least made the last one, make him earn it,’’ Fowler said with a grin. HKGOLFER.COM


Masters champions Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson playing the Par-3 Contest

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A scoreboard is seen as Patrick Reed plays the fourth green during the final round of the 2018 Masters

LEADING FINAL SCORES 1

Patrick Reed

United States

69 66 67 71

273

2

Rickie Fowler

United States

70 72 65 67

274

3

Jordan Spieth

United States

66 74 71 64

275

4

Jon Rahm

Spain

75 68 65 69

277

5

Rory McIlory

N. Ireland

69 71 65 74

279

Cameron Smith

Australia

71 72 70 66

279

Henrik Stenson

Sweden

69 70 70 70

279

Bubba Watson

United States

73 69 68 69

279

9

Marc Leishman

Australia

70 67 73 70

280

10

Tony Finau

United States

68 74 73 66

281

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Top: ©Augusta National 2018; Left: AFP/Getty Images

Reed’s reception at the 18th green seemed to be just a little less warm, fitting of his place among his fellow young Americans. Currently the holders of all four major tournaments are Americans aged 27 and under. Starting with Brooks Koepka’s win at the U.S. Open, then Spieth’s victory at the Open Championship, followed by Thomas’s takeover at the PGA Championship. The young golfers on the PGA Tour are all vying for golf superstardom. Sunday proved to be Reed’s day of reckoning, as he firmly demonstrated that nothing scares him, even being a final-round leader at Augusta National. He sure isn’t the most popular man on the tour, but he proved on Sunday he should be one of the most feared. “A lot of people, for a long time, maybe don’t say his name as often as they should. That’s what I think,” Justine, Reed’s wife, was saying shortly after her husband completed his win. “I’ve always thought he’s a great player. That’s what he did today. He showed his true colors.” “I walked up to the first tee and had a really welcoming cheer, but then when Rory walked up to the tee, you know, his cheer was a little louder,” said Reed. “But that’s another thing that just kind of played into my hand. Not only did it fuel my fire a little bit, but also, it just takes the pressure off of me and adds it back to him. You had a lot of the guys picking him to win over me, and it’s just kind of one of those things that the more chatter you have in your ear and about expectations and everything, the harder it is to play golf.”

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